Jean-Baptiste Vincent
Home Comets Asteroids COSSIM shapeViewer Publications
Studying the surface of a comet is challenging as the nucleus is either too far to be resolved in details, or it is close enough but its own activity hides all the features we would like to investigate.
One of the topic of interest is the localization of active regions on the surface. Although this can be done from a spacecraft, the jets of gas and dust represent a hazard for any probe passing at close distance from the nucleus and any hint on the local activity should be taken into consideration to constrain the approach.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 06 August 2014

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

Activity drives the evolution of the surface, through the release of gas and dust. I use observations, analysis, and inversions of dust coma structures to identify regions of particular interest on the surface, where sublimation and changes take place.

Once these regions are defined, I look at the physical processses involved and attempt to explain them. By constraining the processes at work now, I build a story of how comets may have evolved since they formed. This provides important constraints for the models of our early Solar System.